1 EARLY LEARNING . CURRICULUM . WHAT'S IMPORTANT AND WHAT WORKS. October 2016. EARLY LEARNING CURRICULUM Published 2016. Crown copyright ISBN 978-0-478-43847-5. Except for the Education Review Office's logo used throughout this report, this copyright work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution New Zealand licence. In essence, you are free to copy, distribute and adapt the work, as long as you attribute the work to the Education Review Office and abide by the other licence terms. In your attribution, use the wording Education Review Office', not the Education Review Office logo or the New Zealand Government logo.
2 3. Contents Introduction 4. What ERO knows about CURRICULUM in EARLY LEARNING services 4. Where ERO has found variability 5. New Zealand's national EARLY LEARNING CURRICULUM , Te Wh riki 6. Designing, implementing and evaluating CURRICULUM in EARLY LEARNING services: what is important and what works 7. Anchors for practice Te Wh riki and priorities for children's LEARNING 7. Designing and implementing a CURRICULUM that responds to children with diverse backgrounds and needs 13. Positive foundations for children's LEARNING 21. Pedagogical leadership 31. Effective teaching practice 34.
3 Assessment for LEARNING 35. Internal evaluation for improvement 38. LEARNING partnerships for a responsive CURRICULUM 42. Conclusion 44. Appendix 1: ERO's national evaluation reports 46. EARLY LEARNING CURRICULUM . 4. Introduction The Education Review Office (ERO) gathers system-wide information on a variety of educational issues, reporting on overall sector performance and highlighting good practice. This retrospective study synthesises findings from 17 national evaluation reports1. about CURRICULUM implementation in EARLY LEARNING services published over the last ten years.
4 While the national evaluations over this time have not covered every aspect of EARLY childhood CURRICULUM , they provide an insight and consistent messages about how effectively services are designing, implementing and evaluating their CURRICULUM based on Te Wh The evaluations highlight the dimensions of pedagogical leadership, teacher knowledge, and capacity to develop powerful LEARNING partnerships as key factors impacting on quality. Across these 17 evaluations we have collected examples of effective practices by EARLY LEARNING services as they design, implement and evaluate the effectiveness of their CURRICULUM .
5 We share some of these examples again in this report. What ERO knows about CURRICULUM in EARLY LEARNING services ERO's national evaluation reports on CURRICULUM in EARLY childhood have a recurring and common theme: variability of quality across the sector'. This variability is a feature of understanding and implementation of Te Wh riki, regardless of the focus (age or ethnicity or specific LEARNING needs of children; subject area; or CURRICULUM principles and strands) of ERO's evaluation findings over this time. Issues of quality and equity impact on children's LEARNING and development in EARLY childhood settings.
6 All children should experience an EARLY LEARNING CURRICULUM that is responsive to their language, culture, identity, strengths, interests, needs and abilities. Variability in CURRICULUM understanding and practice impacts on the extent to which children are provided with equitable opportunities to learn in meaningful contexts and through rich and challenging experiences. In the best examples of practice, children have opportunities to learn and experience a CURRICULUM that extends and promotes their LEARNING across the breadth and depth of Te Wh riki. A mix of deliberate and spontaneous teaching, balanced with child-initiated LEARNING enables teachers to extend children's developing understandings.
7 Where this is happening children are developing sound foundational knowledge, skills and attitudes along with a repertoire of working theories and dispositions, critical for their success as lifelong learners. Pedagogical leadership has featured as a key contributing factor in services with well-aligned CURRICULUM processes and practices. 1 See Appendix 1 for a list of ERO reports included in this report. 2 Ministry of Education. (1996). Te Wh riki, He Wh riki M tauranga m ng Mokopuna o Aotearoa. Retrieved from: EARLY LEARNING CURRICULUM . 5. Where ERO has found variability Across ERO's national evaluation reports on CURRICULUM in EARLY childhood we have found that variability of practice extends across the ages of children attending EARLY LEARNING services.
8 For instance we have found that infants and toddlers are usually well cared for and many services support them to confidently and competently explore and communicate. However some services provide limited opportunities for infants and toddlers to develop physical confidence and make sense of the world. We have similarly found variability in the CURRICULUM associated with children's transitions to school. In services that successfully support transitions, children have a wide variety of opportunities to extend their interests and strengths in authentic contexts that promote foundational LEARNING in literacy, mathematics and science.
9 We have repeatedly highlighted variability in assessment quality. Good assessment is fundamental to ensuring children experience a responsive CURRICULUM , and to support successful transitions at each stage of their LEARNING pathway. Internal evaluation (self review) underpins high quality practice. Leaders in services who value and champion internal evaluation coupled with clear expectations about how to inquire into and evaluate practice are essential to services' effectiveness in improving outcomes for children. Leaders need to engage teachers in discussion about their practice and children's LEARNING , and can use ERO evaluation indicators3.
10 As a basis for evaluating their effectiveness. This is a key area that requires improved understanding and practice across the sector. Poor pedagogical leadership and a narrow CURRICULUM reduces children's opportunities to fully engage in LEARNING experiences that respond to their emerging interests and strengths. Lack of teacher knowledge limits opportunities to extend and scaffold children's LEARNING . Similarly, a lack of understanding about assessment impacts on the quality, breadth and depth of information documented about children's progress, LEARNING and development.